Good music, family and friends, and great food! What better way to celebrate the holidays than with a crowd-pleasing menu inspired by the festive colors of the season? This merry meal showcases vibrant red and green hues, tantalizing textures and delectable flavors that will delight your family and friends at this jolly time of year.
For starters, lively appetizers welcome guests as they arrive at your home. These tasty recipes all prepare in ten minutes or less and they can be made well ahead of your get-together. White Bean Cashew Dip is an appetizing appetizer that is certain to please even the most finicky reveler at your party. Yep – this is the dip to serve when you are looking to impress non-vegans. The cashews add richness, while the beans impart a creamy, smooth texture that magically takes the place of cheese. A pop of freshly squeezed lemon juice and a hint of cayenne pepper round out the flavor in this wonderful recipe.
Serve this tantalizing dip with colorful carrot and zucchini sticks, along with Homemade Tortilla Chips on the side. These quick-to bake tortilla chips are so crispy and tasty that you will not miss the oil or the extra calories found in most store-bought varieties.
Mini-Sweet Peppers with Red Pepper Hummus add a colorful punch to your hors d’oeuvre offering. To save time I like to use store bought hummus, but you can certainly use your favorite hummus recipe in this dish. To lessen your cooking chores on Christmas day, seed and halve the peppers the night before, and store them in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. Then all you need to do right before your party is to fill the mini-pepper halves with the hummus and arrange them on a pretty platter.
For the first course, I love to serve a velvety smooth soup to whet appetites. Thick and creamy in texture, Best Butternut Bisque is a true showstopper, perfect for any cold-weather meal. Presented here as an elegant first course, you may also serve this versatile potage as a hearty luncheon entree or main dish supper soup. The butternut squash assures a creamy consistency and buttery taste, without the use of the heavy cream that is traditionally used in a bisque-style soup.
Cranberry-Pecan Quick Biscuits make the perfect pairing for the soup course. They are super quick to make, prepping for the oven in about 5 minutes. These beauties highlight holiday staples like cranberries and pecans – mix ‘em together with a few other ingredients and you have a crunchy, tart, and sweet treat to serve as an excellent complement to a soup or even a salad. They are great to serve for breakfast too!
The star of this magical meal is Festive Stuffed Shells. I love to prepare this satisfying pasta dish to serve at gala gatherings. The potato pulp, baked and then puréed, stands in beautifully for cheese, while the spinach adds substance and visual interest. Served atop Quick Baby Spinach Salad, this marvelous main dish provides a lively color combination making a lovely presentation for any winter wonderland soirée.
A dessert buffet is appropriate at any holiday party. Serving healthier, but rich tasting sweets are the key to a successful finish to a celebratory meal. By offering three spectacular choices, everyone at your table will be supremely satisfied. The featured classic here is Black Forest Pecan Pie, a delightfully delicious and decadent dessert packed with the goodness of dates, dark chocolate, tender pecans and a touch of pure maple syrup.
Mom’s Turtle Cookie Squares are a vegan version of my mother’s traditional seasonal recipe. For years, my mom made a dairy-based version of these cookies for the holidays. I missed having these cookies, so several years ago she and I decided to create a vegan version, which is as good as—or maybe even better than—the original recipe.
Coconut Vegaroons round out this bountiful buffet with a flourish. Flaxseeds stand in for the egg whites in this recipe, while garbanzo bean flour helps to bind them. The result is a flawless macaroon that is egg-, dairy-, and gluten-free! Now that is jazzylicious.
Serve this beautiful seasonal meal with confidence. Just stand back and relish the praise from dazzled diners at your happy holiday table. Here’s wishing you a magical, merry holiday meal!
Meet the Jazzy Vegetarian
Laura Theodore is the Jazzy Vegetarian, and a vegan chef, radio and television personality, award-winning jazz singer and actor, sustainable lifestyle blogger, and cookbook author. She is the proud creator of Jazzy Vegetarian, and author of Vegetarian Cooking for Every Day.
Not only does Jazzy Vegetarian appear on Public Television, Laura also hosts the weekly Jazzy Vegetarian Radio show on Blogtalkradio – a talk/music format that focuses on delicious, easy to prepare, plant-based recipes, eco-entertaining tip, and celebrity interviews.